India – lost in translation?

lost in translation

Travel brings many trials and tribulations, many of which can be attributed to language barriers.

Hand gestures and pointing only goes so far… especially when it comes to finding a toilet… awkward.

What we found in India is how detrimental ‘lost in translation’ situations can be – specifically when it comes to Trip Advisor reviews.

When reading reviews before going to India I picked several spots based on glowing reviews from happy travellers. What I failed to take into account was who was writing reviews… and what they are trying to say versus reality.

So for your viewing pleasure I’ve picked some reviews about places I ended up visiting that weren’t quite what they were made out to be:


bridge copy 2

 

 

 

 

Translation: This review is about a bridge in Mumbai. I mean it’s a nice bridge… but it’s a bridge. I wasn’t excited.


chennai copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: If you find peace and happiness in being stalked by hawkers, threatened, attacked by flying animals (these things are too big to be described as bugs) and eyed up by disease carrying stray dogs, then sure… you will find a shit load of peace and happiness and happiness here.


jaipur copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: “Good natured but persistent” is truly the most diplomatic description I’ve ever heard. This person must be a politician. I watched the hawkers here bully tourists and literally jump on the back of a moving vehicle to try and sell their shit, scaring the bejesus out of visitors.


marble copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: “Great shopping experience”, “For Sale” and “great demo” are interesting perceptions of this marble shop. After watching very talented craftsmen make marble art, we were locked in a room and forced to buy before we could leave. Then were told the owner is a mean alcoholic who is horrible to his staff… So in this case Great shopping experience = forced purchase from slave labour.


So friends, when it comes to Trip Advisor buyer beware… top tips:

  1. Look at where the reviewer comes from – perception is everything and people from different regions of the world to you may have different perceptions.
  2. People are welcome to have their own opinions – even if they are shit and wrong. Don’t take everyones opinion as gospel.

Ok that’s all for now… More actual tales from our actual trip to come soon. For now, rant over, thanks for listening 🙂

Planning Pilgrimages – Some Top tips

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Wanderlust got too much? Need to get on a plane asap? I don’t blame you – best decision you’ll ever make in my rather bias opinion!

But once you know where you want to go then where do you start?

Great question! Here are some tips based on how I plan my pilgrimages.

Planning your pilgrimage:


sites to use and avoid√   I always start with a visit to TripAdvisor. That site is your one stop shop for information, but as per my previous post about reviewers, take every piece of advice on there with a grain of salt… some people just like to moan.

√   For accommodation I’m a booking.com girl through and through. However when you find a hotel you like for the price you like just check the hotels own website – sometimes they have even better deals!

√   For flights I used to use webjet.com, however they don’t list ALL airlines so I’ve started using farecompare.com instead.

For the most accurate result go to your search engine of choice (eg. Google) and type in where you want to fly in and to, it will give you all the options for that route. From there (and yep it’s annoying) compare the airlines through their own websites. It’s truly the only way you get a legitimate comparison. 


 

timing is everything

 

√   Check if there are any big events happening in the area you are visiting, and if you aren’t going to that event maybe book for another time as events mean less accommodation available and at higher prices.

√   Also obviously consider weather/political situation etc.. If there’s a cyclone warning and a political coup it’s probably best to avoid right?

 

 


do a practice run

 

√   I always do at least one round of fake bookings – seeing if I can get flights on the right days, accommodation on the right days etc., then I go back and book.

√   It helps to see if any of your flights/tours are going to mess up the rest of your plans.

√   Just ensure you write down/bookmark your bookings so you remember what you did.

 


pre travel must dos

 

√  Vaccinations and Visas are your two main ‘pre-travel must-dos’ – nothing worse than turning up somewhere and you don’t have the right documentation for a visa, or you get sick as hell!

√   Will you need vaccinations? Check here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

√   Will you need visas? Check here: https://www.visahq.com/visas.php

 


documents and dull stuff

 

√   Having all travel details on hand is hugely important when on the road. If you get in a cab and you can’t speak the same language being able to show the driver where you want to go is priceless. You also of course need to know where and when you need to be places.

√   I’m going to do a blog on travel apps that will help you with document control… however I actually kick it old school and (you guessed it) rock a good old fashioned spreadsheet… In there I put flight times/reference numbers/hotel address, contact number etc.. I even put on there all the things I want to do in each town/area… meaning all info is in one place.

If you want a copy of my spreadsheet I’d be happy to share. Just go to the contact me section and give me your email addy 🙂


So there are some of my top tips buf  if you have any please do share!

Happy travelling 🙂

 

5 Reasons Reviews are not a travellers best friend

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The internet – it’s given us so much joy. Videos of cats and kids doing cute things, online shopping etc.. It’s also let any man and his dog voice their opinion through reviews.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, but not everyone’s opinions are right. So when it comes to researching your next trip, remember reviews AREN’T always your best friend and here are my five reasons why.

Note: unfortunately all examples given are REAL reviews from real people… god help us all.

5) Tourists expect to be told everything, and I mean everything:

Pilgrim with a plan brochure

Example:

•  “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

•  “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

 

ARE YOU SERIOUS?


4) People don’t take responsibility for themselves or their actions:

number 4 good

Example:

•  “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

 

IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT YOU’RE HORNY.


3) People are ignorant:

number 3

Example:

•  “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

•  “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

 

READ A BOOK PEOPLE, READ A BOOK!


2) Some people just like to moan:

pilgrim with a plan 2Example:

•  “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

•  “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

FIRST. WORLD. PROBLEMS!


1) The number one reason? People are stupid:

Pilgrim with a plan

Example:

•  “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

•  “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

•  “It’s a great beach, just too sandy”

SIGH.


Ok ok, so with that said, I do always read reviews before booking – however I’m proving a point… all reviews you read should be taken with a grain (or 10) of salt! Happy researching!